Supporting Corrections and Reentry

Supervising offenders in the community and preparing them to return to their neighborhoods are critical to protecting public safety. An effective approach is the use of reentry programs, which provide a broad range of services for offenders while ensuring their accountability. BJA supports numerous reentry initiatives that focus on partnering with correctional, law enforcement, and social service agencies, as well as faith-based and community organizations. In addition, BJA supports programs that work to reduce recidivism, promote coordinated efforts among reentry stakeholders, reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending, promote information sharing, and reimburse jurisdictions for expenses incurred when they incarcerate undocumented criminal aliens.

Second Chance Act Programs

The Second Chance Act of 2007 (SCA) provides a comprehensive response to the increasing number of incarcerated adults and juveniles who are released from prison, jail, and juvenile residential facilities and are returning to communities. Currently, more than 2.3 million individuals are serving time in federal and state prisons, and millions of people cycle through tribal and local jails every year. Ninety-five percent of all offenders incarcerated today will eventually be released and will return to communities. The SCA helps to ensure that the transition individuals make from prison, jail, or juvenile residential facilities to the community is successful and promotes public safety, and it provides funding to eligible states, units of local governments, federally recognized tribes, and nonprofit organizations for adult and juvenile programs.

Administered by OJP through BJA, OJJDP, and NIJ, SCA programs focus on reducing recidivism, incorporating research evidence-based strategies, providing reentry services in both pre- and post-release settings, and evaluating the effectiveness and impact of reentry programs. These activities focus on adult offenders with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders; family-based substance abuse treatment; adult and juvenile demonstration (planning and implementation) projects; state, local, and tribal reentry courts; adult mentoring programs; technology careers training projects for incarcerated adults and juveniles; and the evaluation of adult and juvenile reentry demonstration projects.

In FY 2012, BJA made 85 awards totaling approximately $48 million (see the table below) that included the following: new competitive site-based awards; supplemental continuation awards for special projects and for sites participating in NIJ evaluations; and a new competitive award for the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC).

BJA also made awards for two new SCA programs: the Adult Offender Comprehensive Statewide Recidivism Reduction Demonstration Program and the Smart Probation: Reducing Prison Populations, Saving Money, and Creating Safer Communities Program. Under the Adult Statewide Recidivism Reduction Program, BJA made seven awards totaling $6.1 million that will provide resources to state departments of corrections to reduce the historical baseline recidivism rate through planning, capacity building, and implementation of effective and evidence-based interventions. The Smart Probation Program (nine awards totaling $3.7 million) will provide resources to states, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian tribes to develop evidence-based probation practices that effectively address offenders’ needs and reduce recidivism.

Since the SCA was enacted into law, more than $270 million has been appropriated for SCA programming and OJP offices have awarded more than 440 competitive awards to support state, local, and tribal reentry programs for adult and juvenile populations; research and evaluation; and substantial support of the NRRC. This funding has resulted in TTA services being delivered to hundreds of justice practitioners and policymakers to guide and improve local reentry efforts.

Some examples of the progress reported by SCA grantees include the following:

These collaborative efforts furthered DOJ’s commitment to providing services and programs to help facilitate the reintegration of individuals as they return home and ensure their transitions from prisons or jails are safe and successful.




Adult Demonstration: Planning and Implementation Projects (SCA Section 101)



Family-Based Substance Abuse Treatment (SCA Section 113)



Technology Career Training Projects for Incarcerated Adults and Juveniles (SCA Section 115)



Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse & Metal Health Disorders (SCA Section 201)



Adult Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit Organizations (SCA Section 211)



Supplemental Awards for NIJ Evaluation: State, Local, and Tribal Reentry Courts Program



Supplemental Awards for NIJ Evaluation: Adult Demonstration Sites (SCA Section 101)



Supplemental Awards/Special Projects: Adult Demonstration Projects (SCA Section 101)



Adult Offender Comprehensive Statewide Recidivism Reduction Demonstration Program (SCA Section 101) (New Program)



Smart Probation: Reducing Prison Populations, Saving Money, and Creating Safer Communities (New Program)



National Reentry Resource Center (SCA Section 101)






Success Stories

Second Chance Success Stories
Second Chance Act (SCA) grantees are using principles of effective practice, honed by research over recent decades, to develop collaborative reentry projects that target recidivism. Two examples are the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) and Kennebec County, Maine. These grantees are using validated risk and need assessment instruments to develop treatment and reentry plans that address their most pressing criminogenic needs.

The Virginia DOC received an FY 2010 SCA Family-Based Substance Abuse Treatment grant that focused on mothers with minor children who were returning from state prison to three rural counties in southwest Virginia. Participants completed a parenting program in their institution that focused on enhancing and practicing parenting skills and participated in video visitation when their children and family members were unable to travel to the facility in person. Client advocates, who are also certified addiction counselors, supported women and their families as they prepared for reentry and for at least 6 months following release. The Virginia DOC also held community forums in the three targeted counties to gather feedback directly from community and family members about improving the reentry process.

Kennebec County, Maine received an FY 2010 SCA Adult Demonstration grant to launch the Kennebec Regional Reentry Project (KeRRP) to provide transition planning involving an integrated system of risk assessment, health care, case management, medication assistance, and comprehensive community-based wraparound services to men and women returning from local jails. Participants were assigned to reentry specialists who were responsible for working with a community mental health care provider to develop individualized transition plans. Individuals identified as being at a higher risk of recidivism were enrolled into a 5-week intensive institution-based treatment and skill-building program that enhances co-occurring substance abuse/mental health treatment by integrating trauma-informed and risk-reduction interventions. Participants also received case management and transition support for up to 6 months following release. Based on the success of this project, Kennebec County received a FY 2012 SCA grant to expand KeRRP to provide integrated treatment services to a larger population of higher-risk individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse treatment needs.

National Reentry Resource Center

In FY 2009, BJA competitively awarded a cooperative agreement to the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center to launch the NRRC (, a first-of-its-kind technical assistance center dedicated to advancing the reentry field through the transfer and dissemination of knowledge that promotes the application of evidence-based best practices. Established by the SCA, the NRRC serves as the TTA provider for OJP’s SCA site-based grantees. The NRRC also provides distance learning, TTA, and other reentry resources to the field, including states, tribes, territories, local governments, service providers, nonprofit organizations, corrections institutions, and individuals returning home.

The NRRC’s objectives are to (1) provide a one-stop, interactive source of current, user-friendly reentry information; (2) identify, document, and promote evidence-based practices; (3) deliver individualized, targeted technical assistance to SCA grantees; and (4) advance the reentry field through training, distance learning, and knowledge development.

BJA recompeted the NRRC in FY 2012, and the CSG Justice Center was awarded $5 million to administer the NRRC.

Among the resources available from the NRRC to date are the following:

Justice Reinvestment Initiative

In the past 20 years, state and local spending on corrections has grown at a rate faster than nearly any other budget item. Yet despite increasing corrections expenditures, recidivism rates remain high, with half of all persons released from prison returning within 3 years. Furthermore, every state has high-risk communities, to which most formerly incarcerated individuals return, placing significant burdens on local jurisdictions that are already experiencing financial hardship.

“Justice reinvestment” represents a response to these challenges; it is a data-driven approach to reducing spending on corrections and reinvesting identified  savings in evidence-based strategies designed to increase public safety and hold offenders accountable. States and localities engaging in justice reinvestment collect and analyze data on the drivers of criminal justice populations and costs, identify and implement changes that address costs and achieve better outcomes, and measure both the fiscal and public safety impacts of those changes.

Justice Reinvestment Active Sites as of November 2012


Arkansas; New Hampshire
Delaware North Carolina
Georgia Ohio
Hawaii Oklahoma
Kansas Oregon
Kentucky Pennsylvania
Louisiana South Carolina
Missouri South Dakota
New Hampshire West Virginia
Alachua County, Florida Lane County, Oregon
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Delaware County, Ohio New York City, New York
Denver City and County, Colorado; San Francisco City and County, California
Eau Claire County, Wisconsin Santa Cruz County, California
Grant County, Indiana Travis County, Texas
Johnson County, Kansas Yamhill County, Oregon
King County, Washington Yolo County, California
State-Level Jurisdictions Local-Level Jurisdictions
Pew Center of the States (Pew Community Resources for Justice Crime & Justice Institute (CJI)
Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG) Center for Effective Public Policy (CEPP)
Vera Institute of Justice (Vera)  

Launched in October 2010, the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) is supported by BJA in coordination with the Pew Center on the States (Pew), an independent nonprofit organization. Before launching JRI, BJA and Pew separately supported justice reinvestment and similar approaches to corrections and sentencing issues. With JRI in place, BJA and Pew have developed a process for more closely aligning their efforts that enables participating states to receive support through one or both organizations. Although the funding and program efforts of BJA and Pew remain independent, the organizations are closely coordinating efforts to better leverage resources in support of jurisdictions.

BJA’s JRI grantees include five competitive awards to nonprofit organizations in three subject areas: Program Oversight, Coordination, and Outcome Assessment (the Urban Institute); State-Level Justice Reinvestment Program Implementation (CSG and the Vera Institute of Justice); and Local and Tribal Justice Reinvestment Program Implementation (the Center for Effective Public Policy and the Crime and Justice Institute). These grantees provide technical assistance and financial support to states, counties, cities, and tribal authorities that would like to engage in JRI as either a Phase I or Phase II site:

Phase I Sites: These sites receive intensive, onsite technical assistance to start the justice reinvestment process, which involves engaging leaders and key stakeholders, conducting a comprehensive analysis of criminal justice data, and identifying strategies to reduce costs and increase public safety.

Phase II Sites: These sites receive targeted technical assistance and are eligible for “seed” funding to support the implementation of justice reinvestment strategies. Sites that apply for Phase II must have already completed all of the steps associated with Phase I.

Currently, 35 jurisdictions (17 states and 18 local jurisdictions)
participate in JRI (see the table). Since 2010, more than $24 million has been appropriated for JRI. In FY 2012 alone, several states (e.g., Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania) have passed landmark legislation and policies that are projected to save money on incarceration while maintaining—or improving—public safety. In FY 2012, BJA awarded $5,235,049 in supplemental funding to the CSG Justice Center and the Vera Institute of Justice to provide additional technical assistance and state pass-through funding to continue to support JRI state-level efforts.

Success Stories

On October 25, 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, joined by state leaders from across the political spectrum, signed and enacted comprehensive legislation designed to increase public safety, redirect funds from corrections to communities, and save Pennsylvania taxpayers millions of dollars. The resulting legislation (Senate Bill 100 and House Bill 135) contains a justice reinvestment framework that reinvests a portion of savings to be generated as a result of more effective corrections and parole policies. Once implemented, funds generated from these savings in the state prison system will be redirected back to local communities to be used for law enforcement, probation, parole, crime victim services, expanding the use of risk assessment, and other activities. It is estimated that Pennsylvania’s taxpayers will see cumulative savings of up to $253 million over the next 5 years due to key system enhancements.

Research-Based Smarter Sentencing to Reduce Recidivism

In FY 2011, JMI received supplemental BJA funding to administer the Research-Based Smarter Sentencing to Reduce Recidivism initiative, a TTA program that helps state and local criminal justice systems incorporate evidence-based research and practices into their sentencing decisions. The movement toward research-based practices in probation, parole, and the judiciary has yielded significant results that demonstrate effective strategies for addressing offender needs and reducing the risk of re-offense. Unfortunately, much of the research is in academic texts or professional journals, which many justice practitioners may be unlikely to review regularly. Practitioners also may be uncertain of how to translate the research into practice. JMI’s initiative fosters research-based smarter sentencing at the state and local levels by making this research accessible to justice professionals.

To address the public safety challenges posed by offenders returning to communities from jail or prison, criminal justice policymakers and practitioners in many jurisdictions are working to enhance offender reentry efforts and reduce recidivism by establishing multidisciplinary teams to inform sentencing decisions. The premise of this collaborative approach—which involves prosecutors, judges, public defenders, and community corrections—is that sentencing based on strategies that demonstrate effectiveness in addressing offender needs will facilitate offender rehabilitation and reentry. This multidisciplinary strategy enables justice system officials to share knowledge and work collaboratively to achieve mutual goals.

In FY 2012, JMI conducted regional training events in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Charlotte (North Carolina), and Portland (Oregon) that included multidisciplinary teams from the following jurisdictions:

Corrections Information Sharing Program

The efforts of criminal justice system practitioners to promote public safety depend on their ability to share offender information across agency and discipline boundaries. This is particularly true in the context of offender reentry. BJA’s Corrections Information Sharing Program leverages technology to enhance information sharing among the stakeholders—corrections and community corrections staff, community-based service providers, law enforcement officers, and others—who share responsibility for managing the transition of offenders from jail or prison back to the community in states and local jurisdictions across the nation.

To address the public safety challenges posed by offenders returning to communities from jail or prison, criminal justice policymakers and practitioners in many jurisdictions are working to enhance offender reentry by building cross-system partnerships and improving their offender information sharing capabilities. These efforts help to ensure that these stakeholders have access to offender information that supports proactive, informed decisionmaking about offender management.

In FY 2010, BJA selected three agencies to serve as pilot sites: Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Rhode Island Department of Corrections (DOC), and Hampden County Sheriff’s Department (Massachusetts). In FYs 2011 and 2012, these three pilot sites received BJA technical assistance from a support team that included a combination of offender management, reentry, and technical subject-matter experts from APPA, Association of State Correctional Administrators, SEARCH, and the IJIS Institute.

Key program accomplishments in FY 2012 included working with the project pilot sites to measure the business benefits of the technical solutions being implemented. In Rhode Island, for example, the technical solution will enable information sharing between the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and the state DOC. DOC will use official juvenile criminal history information from DCYF to complete the Level of Service Inventory—Revised (LSI–R) assessment tool at prison intake. (DOC previously relied on offenders’ self-reported juvenile criminal histories in administering the LSI–R.) To measure the impact and benefit of this justice information-sharing enhancement, an effort is underway in Rhode Island to analyze the LSI–R scores of a sample of offenders by comparing scores using self-report data with those using DCYF’s official data.

In addition, in FY 2012, BJA and its partners initiated the development of a corrections/reentry privacy policy template. The pilot sites and other jurisdictions nationwide will use this resource to guide efforts to implement policies, practices, and technology solutions to uphold the privacy requirements for offenders in the context of reentry efforts.

Implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) was enacted to address the sexual abuse of prisoners in federal, state, local, and tribal correctional facilities, including prisons, jails, police lockup, and other confinement facilities. PREA requires the Attorney General to promulgate regulations that adopt national standards for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape. PREA established the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC) to conduct a comprehensive legal and factual study of the impacts of prison rape in the United States and to recommend national standards to the Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services. NPREC recommended four sets of national standards for eliminating prison rape and other forms of sexual abuse—one for each of the following four confinement settings: (1) adult prisons and jails, (2) juvenile facilities, (3) community corrections facilities, and (4) lockups (i.e., temporary holding facilities). On June 20, 2012, DOJ released the Final Rule: National Standards To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape. This landmark rule sets national PREA standards for the four categories of facilities.

Resource Center for the Elimination of Prison Rape

Funded through a FY 2010 competitive award to NCCD, the National PREA Resource Center (PRC) was established to provide TTA and other resources to help the field better identify and disseminate best and promising practices regarding PREA; assist correctional agencies in implementing the Attorney General’s national PREA standards; and further the overall goal of PREA of establishing zero-tolerance for sexual assault and staff sexual misconduct in confinement cultures.

The PRC represents a collaborative partnership with a wide array of national stakeholder organizations representing federal, state, local, and tribal corrections, including adult prisons and jails, juvenile detention, community corrections, tribal facilities, lockups, and victim advocacy groups. In addition, federal partner agencies—including BJA, OJJDP, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), OVC, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC)—will collaborate to ensure that adult and juvenile PREA efforts are supported and that victim services are incorporated into comprehensive responses.

The PRC has collectively received award totals of approximately $18 million, which includes the initial FY 2010 award and supplemental funding. In FY 2012, the PRC’s accomplishments included:

Future activities will include: the development of an application process for auditors to request DOJ certification; development and beta-testing of a PREA audit tool; development and deliverance of PREA auditor training; provision of various webinars and regional training events; and continued TTA support to BJA’s PREA site-based grantees.

In addition, the PRC will provide funds for local PREA efforts through direct subgrantee demonstration project awards to city, county, or tribal agencies that operate jails, lockups, juvenile detention facilities, and community confinement facilities. The intent of this new subgrantee program administered by the PRC will be to provide resources to these agencies to meet the requirements of the national PREA standards. These awards will be distributed among agencies of all sizes, including those that operate small (fewer than 100 beds) or medium (fewer than 500 beds) facilities.

PREA Demonstration Projects

Originally released in FY 2011, BJA’s Demonstration Projects to Establish “Zero Tolerance” Cultures for Sexual Assault in Local Adult and Juvenile Correctional Facilities Program provides funding to state governments for demonstration projects within state, local, and tribal adult and juvenile confinement settings, including jails and juvenile detention facilities, law enforcement lockups and other temporary holding facilities, and tribal detention facilities. Applicants must successfully communicate a comprehensive approach to preventing, detecting, and responding to the incidence of sexual abuse and clearly prioritize unaddressed gaps, either programmatically or through policy and procedures, in relation to implementation of the national PREA standards. Design elements of a comprehensive response may include the following: policy and practice review and revision; preventive infrastructure and technology enhancements; offender education; victim support services; leadership and cultural examination; data collection; staffing support; and evaluation. Comprehensive demonstration projects, when feasible, should focus on systemic changes as opposed to discrete changes in single facilities or operational practices.

To date, BJA has administered 31 awards totaling $13,242,415 to eligible state governments for demonstration projects within state, local, and tribal adult and juvenile confinement settings, including jails and juvenile detention facilities, law enforcement lockups and other temporary holding facilities, and tribal detention facilities. In FY 2012, an additional 13 grant awards ($3,963,217) were made to state-level correctional agencies to assist these jurisdictions in preparing to achieve compliance with the national PREA standards that were released in May 2012. The PRC also continues to provide TTA to site-based grantees and the field to assist with the national PREA standards.

National Parole Resource Center

Approximately 200 individuals nationwide serve as members of state paroling authorities, with the responsibility of making judgments about the timing and setting conditions of release for approximately 125,000 offenders annually. These decisionmakers also set conditions of release for another approximately 300,000 offenders released on mandatory parole; oversee compliance with conditions and make decisions when conditions are violated on post-release supervision; and are responsible for the return of several hundred thousand offenders to prison as a result of parole revocations. Until recently, there was no resource that state paroling authorities could draw upon to access information, guidance, and support on best practices or evidence emerging from the research that would strengthen their work and make it more effective.

Created in 2010 with funding support from BJA, the National Parole Resource Center (NPRC) is a partnership of the Center for Effective Public Policy (CEPP) and the Association of Paroling Authorities International (APAI). Operated in collaboration with BJA and NIC, the NPRC aims to address these gaps and communicate the lessons emerging from research on recidivism reduction by tailoring that information into targeted TTA and information resources for this key group of criminal justice decisionmakers. The NPRC maintains links with a growing network of organizations that provide information and guidance on substantive topics and related resources. The mission of the resource center is to serve as:

To date, the NPRC has completed the following activities:

In FY 2012, the NPRC received supplemental funding to continue current activities and for additional work, including providing strategic planning technical assistance to parole boards and developing specialized information resources on sex offenders, women offenders, and individuals with mental health challenges.

State Criminal Alien Assistance Program

BJA’s State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) provides federal payments to states and localities that incurred costs for correctional officer salaries as a consequence of incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens who have at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions for violations of state or local law for which they were incarcerated for at least 4 consecutive days during the reporting period. BJA works with DHS to verify the inmate records submitted by states and localities, and with BJS to refine the data received from DHS.

In FY 2012, BJA received program funding totaling approximately $214 million for SCAAP and made 898 SCAAP payments to various states and localities. This is critical funding to jurisdictions that depend on SCAAP dollars to meet their corrections needs such as enhancing their ability to effectively manage their inmate populations and enabling them to maintain or create jobs in jurisdictions that might have otherwise removed officer positions due to budget cuts.

Discover Corrections

BJA is continuing to address workforce development issues in corrections by providing funding support to APPA for the initial development, implementation, and continued management of the Discover Corrections web site ( The web site was officially launched at the APPA Winter Training Institute in February 2012 and has been continuously promoted through social media and at various correctional conferences and events. The web site and project are a collaborative effort overseen by a core project team of major corrections stakeholders, including BJA, APPA, the American Correctional Association, the American Jail Association, and the Center for Innovative Public Policies. The web site focuses on promoting corrections as a profession and presenting the correctional field in a positive and comprehensive manner. In addition, the web site provides detailed information about the field and specific job opportunities that can serve as a resource for anyone seeking a better understanding of this dynamic profession.

As the premier national web site dedicated to promoting corrections careers, Discover Corrections establishes a central location with valuable information for both employers and jobseekers. enables employers in corrections to:

Discover Corrections also provides a valuable career tool to students and experienced professionals seeking information about entry-level and advanced careers in corrections and identifies job opportunities available for current correctional employees. enables potential jobseekers to:

National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women

According to research, women are one of the fastest growing populations entering the criminal justice system. Although they make up only about 17 percent of the total criminal justice-involved population, the implications of women’s experiences in jail, prison, or community supervision are far reaching, affecting their children, family members, and neighborhoods.

In response to these issues, BJA, in partnership with NIC, established the National Resource Center on Justice-Involved Women (NRCJIW), to address the unique and complex needs of adult women involved in the criminal justice system. NRCJIW is administered by CEPP through a BJA FY 2010 Field-Initiated Program competitive award of nearly $750,000, and serves as a resource for policymakers and practitioners who work with adult women involved in the criminal justice system. BJA’s partnership with NIC ensures a coordinated approach to delivering much-needed products and services to the field specific to justice-involved women.

CEPPS’s administration of NRCJIW includes collaborating with a variety of individuals and organizations that have been at the forefront of conducting research, developing tools, and training professionals about gender-informed, evidence-based practices with women offenders. In addition to BJA and NIC, these partners include CORE Associates; Orbis Partners; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Center for Trauma-Informed Care; the Moss Group; University of Cincinnati, School of Criminal Justice; and the Women’s Prison Association.

NRCJIW provides guidance and support to criminal justice professionals and promotes evidence-based, gender-responsive policies and practices to reduce the number of, and improve the outcomes for, women involved in the criminal justice system. Specifically, the goals of NRCJIW include:

To date, NRCJIW has provided a variety and depth of resources to the field that include the following: